DeLauro outraged company still selling chicken despite salmonella outbreak

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes part of Shelton, is expressing outage that federal regulators have allowed a chicken producer to stay open despite its raw chicken products being linked to a salmonella Heidelberg outbreak.

“It is outrageous that, having already not recalled any Foster Farms products, the [U.S. Department of Agriculture’s] Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is allowing the company to keep its plants open just days after detailing facility conditions that are clearly a threat to the public health,” DeLauro said.

“Over 400 people have been sickened by Foster Farms raw chicken products, many of them hospitalized, and yet no recalls have been issued and the facilities continue to operate,” she said.

Been in business since 1939

The Agriculture Department has decided to allow Foster Farms chicken plants to remain open. DeLauro, a Democrat in her 12th term, is a former chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for funding the Agriculture Department.

Foster Farms has been a poultry producer since being founded in 1939 in California. The private, family-owned company sells chicken and turkey products.

Wants department to offer evidence

“FSIS should come forward with the evidence to support their decision immediately,” DeLauro said. “In light of this negligence by FSIS and Foster Farms, I applaud stores that are pulling Foster Farms products off their shelves and urge consumers to avoid these products.”

Foster Farms has been tied to a salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that has sickened nearly 300 people nationwide this year, according to a release from DeLauro’s office. Nearly half of the people who have become sick have been hospitalized, states the release.

The same company previously was tied to a 2012 outbreak that sickened 134 people, DeLauro said.

Shelton has two members of Congress

The city of Shelton is divided between the Third District, represented by DeLauro, and the Fourth District, represented by fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.

The Third District is centered in New Haven County, while the Fourth District includes most of Fairfield County. DeLauro lives in New Haven and was first elected to Congress in 1990.